November 1, 2017

Vol. XLVII No. 35

Editor: Adam Overland (


Inside This Issue

  • Driven to Discover: Joseph Gaugler.
  • Features: ‘I think I can’ is key to closing achievement gap in biology education; Nutritious U; Biology exams can put female students at a disadvantage; A new way to measure photosynthesis.
  • People: Recipients of the second phase of the U of M Driving Tomorrow research investments for interdisciplinary collaborations have been announced; and more.

Top News

Driven to Discover: Joseph GauglerJoe Gaugler

When we hear the phrase “long-term care,” we often think of a nursing home or some other health care provider. However, 85 percent of the care given to older adults comes from family members. Joseph Gaugler is dedicated to finding ways to support family members who provide this critical care.

Learn more about Gaugler's work >

‘I think I can’ is key to closing achievement gap in biology educationstudent at microscope

A new study sheds light on the picture of classroom success for underrepresented students, and finds that group learning and active participation give students the self-confidence needed to shine in the classroom. The study provides valuable clues to designing science classroom experiences to level the playing field for participants from different backgrounds.

Nutritious URebecca Leighton

Recent U of M graduate and now staff member Rebecca Leighton believes that proper nutrition starts with access to healthy and affordable food. That’s why she founded Nutritious U--a food pantry for students on the U of M Twin Cities campus.

Biology exams can put female students at a disadvantagetwo girls in classroom

A new study suggests that women are more heavily influenced than men by anxiety for biology exams, and points to ways to help close the gender gap.

A new way to measure photosynthesis

Weather-related stresses like heat and drought affect plant growth around the globe, but understanding the impact on a regional or global scale is a challenge. Thanks to new technology from NASA combined with research from the University of Minnesota, scientists have a new way to measure the plant canopy for productivity.


Recipients of the second phase of the U of M Driving Tomorrow research investments for interdisciplinary collaborations have been announced, along with 12 faculty who have been named Grand Challenges Research Scholars; Owen Marciano is the recipient of the University’s 2017 Josie R. Johnson Human Rights and Social Justice Award; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

Benefits Open Enrollment now through Nov. 30

Benefits Open Enrollment runs Nov. 1 through Nov. 30 at MyU. This year you can add short-term disability without health history, add or increase long-term disability, select different medical or dental plans, add child life insurance, or enroll in an FSA. If you’re satisfied with your current benefits selections and don’t want an FSA, you don’t need to take any action. Any changes you make will be effective on Jan. 1, 2018.

New administrative policy

The new administrative policy Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence is available for public comment through Nov. 23. This policy provides a detailed description as to how the University responds to sexual misconduct reports, incorporates the new standard language on retaliation, and broadens employees' obligation to report sexual misconduct.

Nov. 1-3 - Conference on transitional justice in El Salvador and Guatemala

The Human Rights Program, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Institute for Global Studies will host a conference during the anniversaries of the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador and the Commission for Historical Clarification in Guatemala. “Truth, Trials, and Memory: An Accounting of Transitional Justice in El Salvador and Guatemala” will convene truth commissioners, government officials, prosecutors, filmmakers, and human rights defenders to explore the research, praxis, and future implications of transitional justice. No charge and open to the public. Registration requested. Humphrey School (with livestream available).

See the full schedule >

U of M to launch Google Meet on Nov. 3

Google Meet is Google’s next-generation online meeting application. Google Meet offers a similar experience to Google Hangouts, but there are some changes that users should be aware of, including Google Meet becoming the default application when setting up a video call using Google Calendar, as well as new web browser requirements.

Make your voice heard by Nov. 3

Share your feedback about your work environment before the Employee Engagement Survey ends Nov. 3. All survey responses are completely confidential and no one in the University or your department has access to individual responses or to a list of who responded.

Nov. 15 - Onboarding New Employees webinar

When new employees join a college or unit, supervisors can help them to become productive and engaged more quickly by understanding the onboarding process. Join the “Onboarding New Employees” webinar for supervisors to learn more about how to help new hires succeed. Noon-1 p.m.

Register at Leadership and Talent Development >

Nov. 16 - Give to the Max DayGive to Max Day poster/ad

Nov. 16 is the University of Minnesota’s Give to the Max Day. Show your U of M pride by using #UMNGive on social media and support your favorite U cause at A shout-out or gift could get your U cause a share of $50,000 in awards.

Professional development grants for retirees

The University Retirees Association invites any University retiree to apply for a Professional Development Grant for Retirees. These competitive awards, administered through the Office of the Vice President for Research, enable U of M retirees to pursue academic or professional interests by providing up to $5,000 in expenses.


Goats help combat invasive shrubgoat eating buckthorn

Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is an invasive shrub distributed throughout the aspen understory at the Natural History Area located near campus. For the past three years, students enrolled in NATR 3480: Ecological Restoration, taught by Associate Professor Matt Simmons, have had some success in reducing buckthorn density and cover in small test plots.

Nov. 1 - Torch & Shield award honors

Recipients of the prestigious Torch & Shield award will be honored and donors recognized in an event featuring student speakers Natalye Kobetsky and Cassandra Morthera. Hosts for the evening are Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause and Albert Sims, head of the Northwest Research and Outreach Center. 5 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program, dinner to follow. Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center.

Nov. 6 - You. Me. We.

The program You. Me. We. will be presented by GTC Dramatic Dialogues. The program follows students as they attempt to navigate the sometimes difficult terrain of multicultural campus relationships. 7:30 p.m., Bede Ballroom.


Regent McMillan on prioritiesRegent McMillan and KUMD host

David McMillan, chair of the U of M Board of Regents, recently spoke with Mimmu Salmela, KUMD interim station manager, about systemwide strategic planning, the importance of philanthropy, and sustaining and improving academic excellence and student outcomes. McMillan graduated from UMD in 1983.

Listen to the interview >

Nov. 1 - Guest Artist Recital: Anthony Di Sanza, percussionTony DiSanza

Percussionist Anthony Di Sanza will perform as part of the Guest Artist Recital series. Di Sanza has performed internationally and on more than 15 albums with various artists. In 2010, he released his own solo album. He is professor of percussion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 7:30 p.m., Weber Music Hall.

Tickets and more >

Nov. 8 - Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American SkinheadChristian Picciolini

Christian Picciolini, a former white supremacist, will speak about his book Romantic Violence: Memoirs of an American Skinhead. He is the cofounder of the nonprofit Life After Hate. In 2016, he won an Emmy for directing and producing ExitUSA's PSA "There is life after hate.” No charge and open to the public. 7 p.m., Kirby Ballroom.


Campus-community partnershipUMM campus water tower

The University of Minnesota Morris works closely with community partners like Stevens Community Medical Center to make west central Minnesota a more vibrant, resilient place. This partnership offers students life-changing opportunities and makes both organizations and the Morris community stronger in the process.

Learn more >

Conference volleyball programs raise melanoma awareness, support fellow playerVolleyball students

In February, outside hitter Marissa Ekness ’18 was diagnosed with melanoma. Despite the odds, Ekness returned to the court this fall, earning support and praise from teams across the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.

Nov. 1 - Theatre season openstheater interior

The Theatre Discipline opens its 2017-18 season with Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's Spring Awakening, directed by Professor of Theatre Arts Ray Schultz. The rock musical, based on the play by Frank Wedekind, follows the story of a group of 19th-century German teenagers as they face their sexual awakening within a rigid and unaccepting society.

Nov. 1 - Jooinn Lee Lecture: The North Korea Crisistwo hands shaking

Joel S. Wit, senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior research fellow at Columbia University Weatherhead Institute for East Asian Studies, will deliver the 2017 Jooinn Lee Lecture titled "The North Korea Crisis: Peering into the Future." 7 p.m., 109 Imholte Hall.


Hrabowski named summit keynote speakerFreeman Hrabowski

Freeman Hrabowski has been named as a keynote speaker for the Higher Education Innovation Summit being held June 6-8. Hrabowski has served as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County since 1992. TIME magazine named him one of America’s “10 Best College Presidents” in 2009, and one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2012.

Register for the summit >

UMR students experience research alongside expertsstudent swabbing saw-whet owl

UMR biology professor Kelsey Metzger and her directed research students are engaged in a research partnership with Quarry Hill Nature Center (QHNC). The focus of the research has been to use molecular genetics techniques to identify the biological sex of individual migratory Northern Saw-whet owls, since sex is not easily distinguishable by physical appearance alone. This partnership has provided significant learning opportunities for UMR students and has contributed to QHNC’s Federal Bird Banding and research efforts.

Twin Cities

Nov. 2 - The Future of the Humanities in a Materialist Age

In this year’s 22nd Annual Holmer Lecture, David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and Humanities at Baylor University, will explore questions about the place of the humanities in 21st-century university culture. 7 p.m., 100 Rapson Hall. A dessert reception will follow.

Nov. 7, 8 - Employee Health and Benefits Fairs

The Employee Health and Benefits Fair is your opportunity to talk one-on-one with representatives from University benefits plans and get your flu shot at no cost from the Wellbeing Program. Take the opportunity to learn more about your medical, dental, flexible spending accounts, disability, retirement, and other benefits options. Nov. 7, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union; Nov. 8, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., North Star Ballroom, Student Center, St. Paul.

Nov. 8 - The Future of Water in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

Nothing is more synonymous with Minnesota than water. Our lakes and rivers are integral to our identity as a state--and they are under threat. Petri Dish panelists will explore possible solutions to pervasive problems, from agricultural nitrogen runoff to invasive species. Additionally, the Wangensteen Historical Library will be on hand to share items from its current exhibition “Underwater,” which explores humans, health, and science in watery spaces. 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. program, Camp Bar, St. Paul.

Tickets and more >

Nov. 9 - Workshop: Course Design for Different Learning Spaces

Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) are designed to facilitate student engagement with course material, with each other, and with the instructor and come with unique opportunities and challenges. This workshop will feature strategies to optimize student learning and motivation in the ALC and prepare TAs to maximize the benefits and minimize the challenges of the space. 4:30-5:30 p.m., 444 University Office Plaza.

Register and learn more >

Nov. 9 - Climate (and Other) Catastropheshurricane

The likelihood and impact of a catastrophic climate outcome is what drives the social cost of carbon, and thus the case for a stringent climate policy. Hear the latest research from Robert Pindyck, MIT, at the Jon Goldstein Memorial Lecture on Economics and Environmental Policy. 6 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey School.

Register and learn more >

Nov. 15 - UMN Spatial Forum and Borchert Lecture featuring Rolf Weberg

The UMN Spatial Forum is a yearly event highlighting spatial research, teaching, and outreach featuring lightning talks, conversation, and a keynote presentation. Rolf Weberg, director of the Natural Resources Research Institute, will give the accompanying Borchert Lecture. 2 p.m., 3-180 Keller Hall.

Dec. 4 - James Wright: A Life in Poetry

Celebrate the publication of James Wright: A Life in Poetry and the 90th birthday of the late poet, James Wright. The evening features a reading by Jonathan Blunk with discussion facilitated by Michael Dennis Browne, as well as remarks by Charles Baxter. 7 p.m., Elmer L. Andersen Library.

No charge, but reservations are requested >

UMTC Featured Eventsbasketball court

Nov. 2 - Visiting Artist Talk: Hannes Brunner
Nov. 2 - ODC/Dance
Nov. 4 - The Velveteen Rabbit
Nov. 5 - Men's basketball game to benefit hurricane relief in Puerto Rico
Nov. 6 - Wellbeing Lecture - The Power of Meaning - Emily Esfahani Smith
Nov. 9 - "Reinventing America’s Schools" with Author David Osborne

Events Calendar >